Lonmin: Witness sees seven bodies

Marikana - Police reportedly opened fire on thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and spears near Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on Thursday, and a Reuters witness said he saw at least seven bodies lying on the ground.

Police at the scene said they had been trying to negotiate with the striking rock-drill operators massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, but the talks had failed.

AP reports it was unclear what ammunition police used to break up the strikers at the Lonmin [JSE:LON] platinum mine. News TV images showed people lying on the ground, one with blood flowing from a wound.

Police Capt. Dennis Adrio, a spokesperson for the officers at the mine, declined to immediately comment. Journalists at the scene said several of those shot were laying on the ground and were not moving.

The protest and ensuing violence, which began a week ago, has killed at least 10 people there, including two police officers. It's also drastically affected production at the mine.

Earlier Sapa reported that National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) claimed there is a hit list targeting members of the union at the mine.

The man found dead on Tuesday in an open veld near the mountain where striking workers had gathered was a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward, the union's president Frans Baleni said on Thursday.

"We know that the list consists of shop stewards and branch members at Lonmin," he said

Ten people have been killed in violent protests at the mine in Marikana since Friday.

Baleni said three of them were NUM members, and one was a member of the United Association of SA (Uasa).

Last Friday, thousands of rock drill operators started an illegal strike and a protest march.

Two police officers and two security guards are among those killed.

The striking workers are demanded a salary of R12 500 a month for all workers. They currently earn R4 000 a month.

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